It's time for the inaugural Basketball BlogPoll Round Table. We have been asked to host the round table here here at A Sea of Blue, and for those of you not familiar with the format, here's how it works: As the host, I get to propose a few questions, and post my answers. The participating blogs in the Basketball BlogPoll also answer these same questions on their own blogs, and place a link to their answers in the comments of my original post.
After it's all done, I compile some of the best answers into a "best of" post for the edification of all. So now, let's get to the questions:
Who really looks like the best team in college basketball this season?
We have had so many teams lately grasp the brass ring in the polls, then lose to a nobody (sometimes several nobodies) and tumble down the poll after fighting so hard to get to the top.
But right now, Pittsburgh looks like the team to beat in the NCAA tournament. They are tough, experienced and can win anywhere. DeJuan Blair and Sam Young are just such a potent combo, and their most recent victory over the former #1 UConn in Hartford just tells me that this Pitt team is ready for anything. I just can't say that about North Carolina, UConn, or even Oklahoma.
Is Blake Griffin the Player of the Year already, or can somebody catch him?
I think it's over. The media anointed him early, and he has been living up to their hype. Who is going to overtake him now? Tyler Hansbrough? Not. His numbers wouldn't even be all-American on a lesser team. Jodie Meeks? Not. As a Kentucky homer, it would be easy for me to say he has a chance, but Meeks is an outsider to the media dialogue, and even though he has been impressive, it's hard to argue he has been more impressive than Griffin. Stephen Curry? Not. Even as the leading scorer in Division I, he does little else. Griffin scores, gets rebounds and plays defense.
The only guy that I see having an argument almost as strong as Griffin is Luke Harangody. 'Gody is sixth in scoring, fifth in rebounds per game, seventh in offensive rebounds per game, third in defensive rebounds per game and nobody is more important to their team than 'Gody is to the Leprechauns. He plays defense, too, and is a clear leader of the Irish, but Notre Dame is rapidly losing their luster and taking 'Gody's POY chances down in the process.
What currently ranked team is the biggest disappointment so far this year?
I think it has to be UCLA. The Bruins were picked third in the pre-season by the AP, but they have lost some head-scratchers -- to a so-so Michigan team at home and swept by Arizona State (a good team, no doubt, but surely a split would be expected), barely got by a weak Washington State and dropped yet another on the road to Arizona.
The Bruins, I think, will not be likely to hit the final four this year. You never know, of course, but their much-vaunted defense has been less than spectacular this year compared to the two previous.
Predict the next team to beat Oklahoma.
I'm thinking at Missouri. Texas looks too weak and too dependent upon A.J. Abrams scoring to get the job done, even at home against their Red River Rival. Kansas is really playing well, but taking down OU in Norman is just too big a hill for the young Jayhawks to climb. Texas Tech? Not likely.
That leaves the Tigers in Mizzou Arena. Missouri's Pomeroy numbers are significantly better than the Sooners, and their defense just keeps getting better. I think they have the goods to take the Sooners down a peg on March 4th, which should leave Griffin & Co. hotter than a pistol going into the final rivalry game this year against Oklahoma State.